Visibility: Are you willing to be seen and heard?
Do you feel like you're being called to become more visible? That it's time to get ready to 'show up' in your life and work, in a new way?
Visibility is all about having our faces seen - and our voices heard.
Maybe you're in a season of spiritual preparation - and practical planning, as you get ready to launch a new project - or take on a new role.
Perhaps, you already have the role; but know that, in order to create greater impact, you may need to be willing to get out there, in a much more visible way.
Either in person, or online - or both.
Just to be clear, we're not talking about self-promotion, for self-promotion's sake.
What we ARE talking about, is offering our physical, or digital, presence, to serve a cause higher than ourselves.
For some of us, this may involve being 'up front' in the pulpit, on a platform - or as the face, or voice, of a campaign.
But it's ALSO (and more so!) about the ordinary stuff, in our everyday life and work.
And this isn't just for those of us who are called to lead.
It's for all of us.
Visibility is about standing up - and speaking up, wherever we are, in word and deed.
It's about sharing, whatever God is giving us, to be - and to do and to say.
Wherever we are.
Maybe it's within our families or friendship groups, in our workplaces, organisations and businesses; or in our churches - and local communities.
Or nationally - or internationally, even.
We may have an 'audience' of one, or one hundred, one thousand - or more...
But here's the thing about greater visibility:
Some of us are comfortable with the idea of being publicly seen and heard. And some of us are not comfortable with this. At all.
It's worth noting, that discomfort around visibility isn't just felt by the young, or those who are more vulnerable - or inexperienced.
It can also affect mature senior leaders, with well-honed gifts - and many years of experience.
ARE YOU StrugglING with the idea of beCOMING more visible?
You're not alone.
I see you.
Some of us find ourselves naturally at ease with visibility. When we see opportunities - we jump at the chance to gain exposure, for something that matters to us.
But many of us, are much more comfortable staying behind the scenes - and serving out of sight.
For those of us who God is calling to step forwards, who are tempted to shrink back, know this:
We need you to show up.
Your visibility matters.
HOW GREATER visibility can SERVE A CAUSE
If you're called to become more visible in this season - opportunities to be seen and heard can help:
- Raise people's awareness - of who you are - and the work you do.
- Get your message out, to those who need to hear it.
- Build confidence in you personally - and increase the credibility of your organisation
- Offer public support for others.
- Build relationships with individuals and organisations, who may become service users, clients, customers, partners, supporters, advocates and donors.
This is about serving, not selling.
Being visible isn't primarily about promoting yourself. It's about showing up to share your message - and let people know that you're here to be of service to others.
And it's for the many, not the few.
As we enter the season of summer festivals - staffed faithfully by scores of Christians in hi-vis jackets - I'm reminded that for every speaker or worship leader, there are scores of stewards, who make themselves visible - standing at gateways and along dusty gravelled tracks, to serve thousands, so they can listen to the One.
HOW TO GET READY TO BE MORE VISIBLE
If a part or your heart sinks, rather than soars, with the idea of being seen or heard in a new way, how can you prepare to show up whole-heartedly?
1. Get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable
You may as well make peace, with the fact that visibility isn't just for those who are naturally wired that way.
Moses. Enough said.
This isn't as much of a disadvantage as you might think... One big advantage of feeling uncomfortable, is that it keeps us throwing ourselves on the grace of God, rather than trusting our personality, gifts, competence, and experience.
2. Pray (and ask others to pray for you)
There's a saying that "God doesn't call the equipped. He equips the called." I haven't managed to track down where this originally came from - but it rings true.
I love hearing stories of how God equips people to show up with boldness, courage and humility, in ways that NEVER would have been possible, in their own strength - and THEN gives them incredible opportunities, that they could never have created for themselves.
As you move forwards, always look to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Keep looking for God's ongoing leading - and revelation along the way.
Ask God to open doors - and knowing that you can't do #allthethings, be ready to be discerning, about which opportunities it's right to accept.
3. Don't SIT BACK AND wait for invitations
If you know God is calling you to show up, don't just sit there waiting for invitations, look around for chances to contribute - where you can show up - and start serving others generously.
Rather than waiting for people to come to you - be ready to go wherever they already are.
4. Know your 'Why'
If you find yourself shrinking back, from doing things that will increase your visibility, take some time to think through what this will give you. When you're clear about the benefits, it's usually easier to find the courage to get the right support around you - and move forwards.
5. BE WILLING TO BE ConsistenT
Sometimes we may be called to be visible on a one-off occasion. But for most of us, being prepared to continue to show up faithfully, over time, creates greater impact than 'hit and run' exposure.
6. Go low and slow
Pride is dangerous. Humility matters. If you're new at being visible, be ready to go gently. Look to create learning experiences that you can build on, so you can practise - and develop your skills gradually. Skills and experience aren't everything, but in terms of good PR and reputation management, they can be important and useful.
7. Healthy Boundaries
Prolonged visibility and public exposure can be tiring and stressful - especially for introverts. No one can be 'on' all the time - either in real life, or online. Besides, it's not without it's temptations - and whilst none of us are 'good', falling into various kinds of temptations can do bad things to great people.
Do what you can, to manage your exposure - and energy levels. Be discerning about what accepting invitations may end up costing you. Build greater visibility into your schedule gradually - and give yourself some margin, to allow yourself to rest and recover.
8. Be real
If you feel nervous about showing up, it can be really tempting to put on some kind of mask. Integrity matters. It's always to show up in keeping with your real self - rather than as an imitation of anyone else.
9. Collaborate with others
Although there may be times to 'go it alone' - collaborating with someone more experienced - or at the same stage as you, can offer valuable benefits. Partnering with others may enable you to receive useful mentoring, or mutual support and encouragement, as you show up and get visible together.
10. Get an accountability partner
I'm a big fan of building accountability into my life and work. An accountability partner doesn't have to be someone like a coach or a mentor. It can be fun to have an accountability buddy who is also being called to increased visibility in this season. Spiritually, it's great to have people praying for you. More practically, it's great to have people in your life who will make a point of asking you how it's going regularly - and how you're dealing with any obstacles - and making progress towards your goals.
For me, accountability helps focus my mind (and my to do list) - and keep going. Even when I sense I'm being called to do things that feel scary or uncomfortable.
So here's what I'm learning...
Getting more comfortable around being more visible takes time.
On a personal level, I'm definitely no stranger to 'visibility issues'. Although I've moved forward a long way, over the last few years, I know I'm still a work in progress here.
But here's the thing: despite all the challenges...
It is worth it.
It gets easier. Practice helps.
Although there are still times when 'imposter syndrome' raises its head, more and more, I'm learning to ignore the voice that says "Who do you think you are?" - and choose to focus on who I believe that he is - and what he is calling me to do.
I remind myself that, visibility isn't about self-serving self-promotion:
It's all about showing up - and serving others.
And I'm reminded, as I pray, that as Ephesians 3:20 says, God is able to do:
'immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.'
So, if you're wanting to rise to a challenge in this season, to become more visible in your own life and work, know this:
Where we are willing - he is able.
As we keep in step with the Spirit - his power is at work within us.
And that's amazing, right?!
So, for those of us who are hearing God's call:
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8)
In faith, we get to reply:
"Here I am. Send me."